We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Truly awful WordPress update broke many things…

Until we can figure out how to fix WordPress’ “helpful” update that over-rides CSS, Samizdata will be looking a bit weird… sorry folks.

And hey WordPress… fuck you.  Maybe time to start looking for an alternative to WordPress.

How time flies…

On November 2nd 2001, we started scribbling random thoughts on this blog. My goodness, how much the world has change since then, and us along with it.

China’s hardware hack: massive implications if true

Bloomberg is running an utterly astounding story about a massive Chinese hardware hack that if true will have considerable political impact but truly enormous economic implications.

This will have a long-term bearish effect on China’s hitherto unchallengeable position as the overwhelmingly dominant manufacturer of computers, phones and high tech IT component.

And yet… I hesitate to immediately take this entire story at face value, precisely because the geo-political/economic implications are so dramatic that I can hear the sound of a great many axes grinding.

Still, it is certainly something I can well believe the Chinese government would do, even with the associated risk to China’s IT marketability. But then the same is probably true of the US government, I would not put such a thing past them either.

Samizdata quote of the day

To take an example, many students in universities and employees at Google take bias training courses that tell them “white privilege” and “systemic racism” explain disparities in outcomes between groups, despite the fact that—to take one example—Asian Americans from China and India (‘people of color’) make more money and are incarcerated at lower rates than whites. According to the conspiratorial worldview of many faculty in grievance studies departments, citing statistics and making arguments that go against the privilege narrative proves that you have an unconscious bias against minorities, and that you’re probably a white supremacist.

Jonathan Anomaly, who is not only a smart chap but has quite possibly the greatest name ever.

Samizdata quote of the day

The thing is we know how these sorts of plans work out. France has long insisted that a certain amount of French language – and often French produced – material be played upon radio stations. So, there’s a cottage industry in recording songs in French. Which then sell 15 copies – enough for one to each radio station – which are then played at 3 am when even Frenchmen are asleep. This meets the quota and the daytime hours, when adverts are worth something, is in English just as the listeners want it to be.

Given that we’re talking about on demand services here even that much chicanery won’t be necessary. Buy up the rights to some set of old European shlock and have it available in the catalogue and we’re done. There will be tapes of old Danish game shows out there, Greek chat shows, French – Que Dieu nous aide – intellectual debates. The rights to each entire series costing perhaps €1 in perpetuity. Stick them up and we’re done. Judging by the standard output of Portuguese TV there’re thousands upon thousands of hours of accordion music available.

No one will watch them of course, just as they didn’t first time around. The law will have had no effect other than to signal the cultural sensitivity – and economic stupidity – of MEPs. But then what would politics be if it wasn’t mere such signalling?

Tim Worstall nailing it perfectly 😀

Rod Liddle says what the Stupid Party front bench are too useless to say

Nice one, Rod.

Why is John McCain kicking the bucket a big deal with the media?

US Senator John McCain, an ultra-hawk super-statist on the leftmost edge of GOP, kicked the bucket recently. And it seems that this is big news, given the constant stream of articles on the topic ever since. But why is that? And in particular, why are the BBC and Sky, both UK based channels, headlining this when when the vast majority of people outside the USA have a level of interest approaching zero? Yes, it warrants reporting but why is such an event being bigged up like this? Was it because he had the good manners to lose an election to Barack Obama?

Samizdata quote of the day

I am persuaded that no system of government — democratic, oligarchic, aristocratic, monarchical, tyrannical, oriental despotic or worse, liberal-progressive — can deliver anything resembling justice in this world, unless it is under the direction of angels.

David Warren, via Maggie’s Farm

Venezuela is a mess due to terrible policies

“Why is Venezuela a country in turmoil?” asks Adam Parsons, writing for Sky, whereupon he talks about monetary policy, the price of oil, hyperinflation, increases in the minimum wage.

I suppose this all came about due to rip tides or adverse alignment of stars or maybe even ‘bad luck‘.

For an article that asks the question ‘why’, for some reason Mr. Parsons makes no attempt to suggest what could be motiving and informing President Maduro’s actions, a man whose day job is running Venezuela, but who also happens to be president of something else too.

‘Strangely’ nowhere in this article does the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ appear. Go figure.

Aunt Agatha threads her needle through the eyelids of another unworthy seeking advice

I spot you’ve never been short of cash, from your days of ‘golden sacks’ to your current take-home of over £800,000 a year. So what you need is the satisfaction of a role that fits your character. With your dark suits, unsmiling face, and the air of gloom you spread like a fog around you, you have the demeanor of an undertaker. You should capitalize on that by setting up a chain of funeral parlours. Your slogan could be something like, “Pass on with certainty into that uncertain future.” People would flock to sign up for your sombre services, knowing that, once dead, they’d be beyond the reach of your gloomy predictions.

– The wise and sagacious Agatha Antigone casting yet more pearls of wisdom before the Gadarene swine on line.

Samizdata quote of the day

Hands up everyone who thinks that Liz Warren wants that shareholder interest to be even more powerful in American firms? Quite, then she’s not proposing the Nordic model of corporate governance, is she?

But then, you know, since when did Matt Yglesias allow reality, or even knowledge of it, to ruin a good Democratic Party talking point?

Tim Worstall.

Face it, Matt Yglesias has been a fountain of ignorant fluorescent idiocy since the early days of blogging.

Rowan Atkinson hits the nail on the head yet again

These remarks are as apposite today as when they were first delivered in 2012. The Boris Johnson ‘burqa’ furore is actually not about burqas at all (nothing happened when Ken Clarke made very similar remarks in 2013), it is a nakedly obvious ploy to bring down the main political threat to Theresa May, by using profoundly illiberal notions that politically designated groups are beyond ridicule or criticism.